I spend a lot of time eating cookies. My friend Becca (with whom I share a baking blog) and I spent the weeks leading up to Christmas baking the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies (read about that grand experience at http://eatitupwithus.blogspot.com/). After that, I thought I wouldn’t make cookies again for a long, long time.
Boy, was I wrong.
I think I have made cookies, in one form or another, every week of 2011. That’s disgusting. Don’t worry, Eric and I aren’t eating all of them. Generally I bake cookies to take to an event or to feed folks coming to dine at la casa de Ringer (if this is completely incorrect, I apologize. I haven’t taken Spanish in years). I’ve been on a huge chocolate kick lately (well, I’m afraid I’m always on a chocolate kick), but this one has been a bit overwhelming. While pouring some Reese’s peanut butter chips into a jar, I saw the recipe for Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies on the bag and knew I could not rest until I whipped up a batch. Luckily, I tend to have every baking ingredient necessary for cookies on hand, as I’ve been making cookies non-stop for weeks. I wanted to make them a bit healthier, so I altered the recipe a bit to fit my desires. Don’t worry. They are still packed with sugar and taste incredibly rich. You can find the recipe at the bottom of this post.
Next up, I made the little girl I babysit a promise that we could make cookies today. Having completely forgotten about that promise until this morning, I was scrambling around to find a kid-friendly recipe. I wanted to make peanut butter cookies, but I thought that might be a bit ambitious for a 4-year-old, so I went with a cake mix cookie. Perfect choice. The recipe is so easy that a 4-year-old can do it (with a little help in the measuring and stirring departments).
More on this 4-year-old. She is hilarious. And so is her 6-month-old brother. Allow me to share a few moments of cuteness, along with a few life lessons:
1. A few days ago, I went sock-less for the first time at their house. My feet, like most womens’, have plenty of old scars and fresh cuts from a variety of shoes, past and present. The little girl noticed my feet and asked what happened. I explained that all of the marks on my toes and ankles were from shoes, as I sometimes have to walk long distances in shoes that rub my feet. I took this as an opportunity to say, “And let that be a lesson to you. Always wear comfortable shoes.” She assured me that her Wizard of Oz ruby red slippers (with sparkles) were very comfortable.
2. If you instill a false sense of greatness in the child (i.e. “You are such a talented artist” when the child clearly cannot color within the lines), they will believe they are great at everything. While we were baking today, she kept telling me what a great job she was doing of pouring the ingredients into the bowl. And then she informed me of the great job she was doing stirring the mix (she was simply moving the spoon up and down in the batter). Sometimes she tells me how good she is at riding her bike. Or I’ll compliment her on something and she’ll respond with, “I know.” It’s hilarious.
3. The family I nanny for has a cat. This cat is bigger than the baby. Several of you have probably heard me tell stories about this cat and how I often hear it moving upstairs and think the 4-year-old has fallen out of bed. Today I was sitting on the floor with the baby when the cat came down the stairs. The baby, who used to be afraid of the cat, now loves the cat and wants to touch it all the time. The cat is not at all interested in the baby, but it is quite interested in me. Although I am not a fan of animals at all, they always seem to be big fans of me. This is certainly the case with this cat, who rubs up against my back and purrs until I move my arms and let it hop into my lap, where it will happily sit and purr louder. Today, I refused to let the cat sit in my lap, so it walked around me, purring and rubbing up against me. The baby decided that today would be the day that he would pet the cat. So I sat on the floor while the cat walked circles around me, followed by a crawling baby who could never catch up. This lasted at least 5 minutes. Then the cat jumped up on the couch and let its tail dangle down, teasing the baby. The baby crawled to the couch and spent the next several minutes trying to reach the tail. In the end, the cat won.
4. While playing on the swing-set the other day, the little girl and I were planning a pretend tea party (everything with children is ‘pretend’, I have learned). She asked me what I would like to bring to the tea party. Cookies and cupcakes, of course. I asked her what she would bring. “Broccoli and chicken.” Big points to the parents on that one.
If anyone has suggestions for what I can do to entertain these children, please share. I spend most of my time watching the baby attempt to crawl around and stick everything he finds in his mouth.
Here are the recipes for the two chocolate cookies I’ve made this week. If you try them, let me know what you think! Or, if you are in the Lexington area and would like to take some cookies off our hands, let me know.
Chewy Chocolate Cookies
adapted from the recipe on the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips bag
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
8 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
2 cups sugar
1 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter, yogurt, and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and beat. Add flour mixture and beat. Stir in peanut butter chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes.
Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (or, a recipe so simple a 4-year-old could do it)
1 box German chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes.
Thanks for reading! Hope you are all eating lots of cookies this week!